U.S. indicts 12 Russian spies in 2016 election hacking

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The 12 alleged Russian intelligence officials were indicted as part of the ongoing investigation into Russia's interference in U.S. politics, Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, was due to announce at a press conference in Washington.

In his press conference Rosenstein summarized the charges to the effect that the named Russian defendants stole and released Democratic documents after planting malicious computer codes in the network of the DNC as well as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

The indictment is the latest to come out of the ongoing - and politically explosive - investigation into Russian election meddling and the possible involvement of members of the presidential campaign of U.S. President Donald Trump.

The indictments were made public just three days before Trump was set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.

Rosenstein said the announcement of the charges on Friday took place because that was when the special counsel's office had completed its work investigating them and had the ability to present the evidence to a grand jury. They are accused of a sustained cyberattack against Democratic party targets, including its campaign committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign.

His work had already led to charges against 20 people on crimes ranging from money laundering to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Hours before the Justice Department announcement, Trump complained anew that the special counsel's investigation is complicating his efforts to forge a better working relationship with Russian Federation.

A few hours before the indictments were announced, Trump described the Mueller investigation as a "rigged witch hunt" that is hurting the US relationship with Russian Federation.

"We do have a - a political problem where - you know in the United States we have this stupidity going on".

With the charges, Mueller's prosecutors have marked out another Internet pathway they say Russian Federation used to influence the USA election. Trump and Putin are scheduled to hold talks Monday in Finland, a meeting largely sought by Trump. "But I love getting along with Russian Federation and China and other countries".